By Barbara Barrett
25th Secretary of the Air Force
In 2000, I was one of the judges for the Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Joan was a finalist for the award. What a contender — a self-made business leader and expert on inflight and onboard safety who founded and built a vital global service. Indeed, she won. Joan earned the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for her work as CEO of MedAire, where she revolutionized global aviation safety and more. By then, MedAire was already delivering remote medical, security, and operational support to clients on air, land, and sea. Anywhere in the world, when MedAire’s clients face a medical crisis, they (or their pilot, driver, or ship captain) radio MedAire’s emergency physician for immediate assistance and action.
Joan wore her flight suit and worked as an emergency room nurse with the dual role as MedAire CEO before ever taking a MedAire salary. This book captures the sacrifices she made to launch her company and leadership lessons learned under fire. Imagine triaging urgent care patients while building a company with 30% annual growth! Meanwhile, she raised her family, squeezing soccer games amid her whirlwind of trauma centers, travel, presentations, and white papers.
I have followed Joan Garrett’s career with abiding admiration for more than two decades. Recently, at the National Aeronautic Association awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., as 25th Secretary of the Air Force, I applauded the announcement that Joan Garrett would be inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. An outstanding business leader, Joan saves lives by combining her skills as a nurse with the miracle of telemedicine and the reach of aviation.
Like Joan, I encourage young people to pursue their dreams and consider lives of service. One Life Lost, Millions Gained inspires me and will surely inspire future generations of business and medical professionals.
A note from the author
I became a recipient of the Award in 2001, followed by other rewards along the way — thanks to my wonderful family, employees, contractors, supporters and mentors who also shaped this one-of-a-kind journey.
Joan Sullivan Garrett, 2001 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipient